January’s cruise ship accident off the coast of Italy is causing confusion amongst American cruisers. A recent poll from Ipsos shows that one in three Americans did not know which cruise line was involved in the reef accident near Isola del Giglio, the tiny island just off Italy’s Tuscan coast. Ipsos recently surveyed more than 18,000 Americans regarding the Costa Cruises accident that occurred off the Italian coast on January 13, 2012.

According to the Ipsos study, nearly all American respondents (93%) were aware of the accident on the Costa Concordia.  Yet despite the large amount of media coverage surrounding the incident, more than one-third of respondents (35%) were uncertain which cruise line was involved. Only a little more than half of all respondents aware of the accident actually associated it with Costa Cruises (32%) or its parent company, Carnival Cruise Lines (22%).

“With so many people unable to accurately name the cruise line involved in the incident, there is the potential for other cruise lines to experience a negative halo effect,” says Sheri Lambert, Travel & Leisure research specialist with Ipsos Loyalty. “Even in light of the recent cruising incidents involving Carnival passengers being robbed during an excursion in Mexico and a power failure causing a Costa ship to drift in the Indian Ocean, I don’t think cruisers will stop boarding their favorite ships, as evident when the cruise industry continued to see growth when other tourism decreased greatly following the 9/11 attacks.”

Indeed, the Ipsos study shows there appears to be little impact on plans to book a cruise vacation in the near future. A similar number of Americans plan to book a cruise in the coming year as in recent years – 13% say they plan to book in the next year, while 10% say they have cruised in the past two years.

However, there was evidence of some hesitation surrounding the entire cruise industry. Among those who indicated they would probably not or would definitely not plan a cruise in the next year (67%), one in six indicated this was a direct result of the Costa Concordia accident.

“From a communications point of view, it may be the case that cruisers need additional reassurance from the authorities that they are not being unduly victimized and shouldn’t feel as such. More dialogue with the media is needed to reassure them that all due care is being taken,” adds Lambert.

[Source:  Ipsos Poll.  Ipsos.  1 Mar. 2012.  Web.  16 Mar. 2012.]